Manchester United’s approach to facing Sevilla at Old Trafford in a woeful UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg defeat was completely wrong, according to Steven Gerrard.
Manager Jose Mourinho and the players showed far too much respect to the La Liga side, who showed themselves at times in the tie to be a poor side, Gerrard believed.
The Reds didn’t look as if they were trying to take the game to Sevilla at any point in either leg of the tie. Slow, lacking urgency and wasteful in possession, Man United had four shots on target in over three hours of football.
Gerrard believes the United players went in with the wrong mindset against Sevilla.
“United showed them far too much respect in the game,” Gerrard told BT Sport after the game.
“I think he [Mourinho] tried that with his subs, bringing Martial on and Mata, and changing Rashford to the left. Mourinho did try things.
“It’s down to the players to go and carry that out and be a bit more positive. They showed them far too much respect.”
Sevilla were poor, and limited to weak long-range efforts until Ben Yedder was brought on with less than half an hour remaining. He scored after less than two minutes, and double his and Sevilla’s tally very soon after with a farcical header past David de Gea.
After that, United went for it. Romelu Lukaku grabbed a goal back. It was the best two-minute spell of the game for the home side, and then the intensity dropped again and the players were wasteful on the ball, again.
“They only showed urgency when panic set in, when Ben Yedder got his goal,” Gerrard continued.
“That needs to be from the first whistle, because in a Champions League game, the crowd lifts.
“It’s so easy if you start quick and you start well because that momentum carries you through, it’s very difficult if you start lethargic then to try and go through the gears and United were stuck in second gear tonight.”